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Issue #1734      June 8, 2016

Silver lining in dire cuts for arts

The Arts Party has succeeded in their election crowdfunding drive, raising 122% of their target, almost $43,000. PJ Collins, leader of the Party, said “This is a wonderful moment, we crowdfunded to form and now have crowdfunded again to fight this election. We will definitely be on voting slips across the country in July!”

Sunday Too Far Away (1975) was the first feature produced by the South Australian Film Corporation, a state government statutory corporation that was established in 1972.

However, celebrations have been tempered by what some are describing as “the worst week ever in Australian Arts” in the last month’s federal budget. The Australia Council’s Four-Year Funding announcement has many losers and will signal closure for cultural organisations across the country, many with decades of achievement behind them.

Collins continued, “This is an insult to community and not-for-profit organisations everywhere. With a federal budget worth over $470 billion, the Australia Council has only $28 million to spread across the entire country and cover their four-year Funding Program for cultural work. That’s a little over $1 for every Australian.”

Australia Council CEO Tony Grybowski says he is “proud and in many ways pleased with this”. In response, Collins said “that makes absolutely no sense to us. In a country with an ever growing population we should be receiving ever greater cultural investment and government support. Instead we have constant and major cuts to our communities and opportunity in developing and recognising our native talent.”

He continued: “We are stunting the future potential of Australia. Virtually all the standout artists, actors, musicians and performers who entertain us, make us think and feel together and so often make us proud to be Australian, all got their lucky breaks somewhere small, somewhere local. In community theatres, music venues and galleries, often with support, advice and training provided by small and medium sized cultural organisations.”

That framework is being progressively dismantled in Australia today. “At what point do we stop being the Lucky Country? When there’s virtually no live music left? When youth theatre is completely gone? When our publishing industry evaporates entirely or the film industry is reduced to simply supplying crew for Hollywood blockbusters on the Gold Coast?”

Collins continued, “This is a year of disaster and misfortune for the arts in Australia and the cultural lives of us all. The outlook for the next few years is no better; we have seen how the arts and our creative industries are valued by our politicians. This has all strengthened our resolve to go to the election and stand up for this essential and hugely undervalued part of our lives in Australia.

“We now have over 2,000 paid members and a clear mandate to stand up for the cultural life of every Australian at this election. People are joining us every day. The only way Australia is going to get a better deal is to go to the elections and vote for change, by voting for the arts! We want a million votes for the arts at this election!”

Next article – Stolen wages payments begin in Qld

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